On reflection I think leaving the house at 9:43 for a 10am race 1.25 miles (run) away was cutting it too fine. Anyway as it turns out I had time to get there, jump a barrier, fight my way across the main starting pen, jump another barrier, find the bag drop tent, get back to the start, jump a third and final barrier, push my way to the front (there's never a race steward around when you need one) and join up with team Harpenden Running Fource with minutes to spare. Of course I was now way closer to the front than I should have been but was happy to take the adulation when the announcer referred to those at the front as elite! Waiting to start Niall glanced down and noticed my secret weapon - shiny new lightweight running shoes. Damn so much for the element of surprise.
The race plan, such as it was, was to aim for 42 minutes which required averaging 6:45 pace. With the course profile to mile three being short flat, big downhill, short flat, big uphill, followed by three relatively flat miles there didn't seem much point checking progress until after mile three. As it happens my pace at that point turned out to be just about bang on so all I needed to do was pump out three more 6:45 miles. I didn't manage it, slowing quite considerably in mile six, however, thank to the route being under-distance I still came in under 42 minutes!
So how did the rest of Running Fource do? Well despite yet another unfriendly results website (what - you want to see the list of runners and times in finishing order?) I've managed to extract that out of 2265 finisher we came in as follows:
Yup - I came last! As way of consolation on the walk back home stopped off with Niall for traditional post-race coffee and carrot cake. OK so it's a tradition we only started today but it sounds like a good'un to me.